QUETTA: At least four police personnel were martyred and 12 others, including some policemen, wounded in a blast near a mosque in the Satellite Town area of the provincial capital on Monday night.
The blast took place shortly after a police van arrived at the site to provide security to the people offering taraveeh prayers at the mosque, officials said.
This was the second major terrorist attack in Balochistan within the last three days, as previously a luxury hotel in Gwadar came under attack.
“The police vehicle carrying personnel for mosque security was targeted in the blast in which our four personnel of Rapid Response Group (RRG) lost their lives, while the condition of another was stated to be serious,” said Quetta DIG Razzaq Cheema while speaking to Dawn.
Four policemen martyred in Quetta bomb blast; Taliban claim responsibility
The officer said an improvised explosive device planted in a motorcycle went off close to the police van. Sources said unidentified people parked the explosive-laden motorbike near the mosque in Satellite Town area and detonated it by remote control when the police van arrived there.
As a result, one police constable died on the spot while 15 others, including seven police personnel, were wounded.
Police, Frontier Corps personnel and rescue workers rushed to the site and shifted the body and the wounded victims to the Civil Hospital Quetta.
“Three police officials among the injured died soon after being brought here at the hospital,” officials at the healthcare facility said. They added other wounded were admitted to the hospital. “The condition of another policeman is serious, as he sustained multiple wounds,” said a senior official.
Many vehicles parked in the area were damaged and windowpanes of nearby buildings were shattered due to the impact of the powerful blast though the mosque remained safe in the attack.
Four RRG men who lost their lives in the blast were identified as Mohammad Ishaq, Ghulam Nabi, Mushtaq Shah and Zulfiqar Ali.
Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to trace the elements involved in the blast.
The Balochistan chief minister strongly condemned the blasts and said they could not demoralise the government and security forces. He vowed that the government and security forces would continue action against terrorists and their facilitators.
He directed law enforcement agencies to take all-out measures against terrorists and bring them to justice. He expressed sympathies with families of the martyred police personnel and said their sacrifices would always be remembered.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the motorcycle bomb blast targeting the police vehicle.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2019